2023 Presler Lecture
Wednesday, September 13th, 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM EDT
Details to view the event are private and will be sent along with your ticket purchase.
Join us on September 13, 2023 at 4 PM ET, for the 2023 Presler Lecture. This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required to attend online (Zoom) or to join us on campus for a watch party in the Winn Center (1044 Alta Vista Rd).
How can we respond theologically to the spread of anti-trans theologies in religious communities – theologies that not only exclude people who don't fit binary gender categories of male and female, but demonize them and all who love or support them? Because the communities embracing anti-trans theologies see themselves as defending ways of doing gender that are not only traditional but sacred, reflecting God's design for humanity and thus both divine order and the basis for the human-divine relationship, they are unlikely to respond to inclusive theologies that demand they change their gender beliefs or practices. As a result, this talk will propose more modest theological responses, aimed not at creating inclusion but at addressing and alleviating the anxieties fueling the spread of anti-trans theologies by showing how traditional beliefs and texts offer better ways to respond to those whose gender we find incomprehensible, ways that strengthen our sense of God's presence and enable us to practice sacred forms of binary gender without fearing, demonizing, or lashing out at those who do not fit them.
This lecture will be held virtually on Zoom and as an on-campus watch party. Registration is required for both.
View printable pdf.
Joy Ladin has long worked at the tangled intersection of literature, Judaism, and transgender identity, publishing a memoir of gender transition, National Jewish Book Award finalist Through the Door of Life; the first book-length work of Jewish trans theology, Lambda Literary and Triangle Award finalist, The Soul of the Stranger: Reading God and Torah from a Transgender Perspective, and ten books of poetry, including Shekhinah Speaks (selva oscura 2022) and 2021 National Jewish Book Award winner The Book of Anna. She became a nationally recognized speaker on trans and Jewish identity after her transition at Yeshiva University made her the first openly transgender employee of an Orthodox Jewish institution, and has been named to both the “Forward Fifty” list of influential or courageous Jews and to LGBTQ Nation's Top 50 Transgender Americans list, and featured on a number of NPR programs, including an “On Being” with Krista Tippett interview that has been rebroadcast several times. Her writing has been recognized with a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Fulbright Scholarship, an American Council of Learned Societies Research Fellowship, and a Hadassah Brandeis Institute Research Fellowship, among other honors. Two new books, Once Out of Nature, essays on how gender is changing, and her eleventh collection of poems, Family, are forthcoming from Persea in 2024. Episodes of her online conversation series, “Containing Multitudes,” are available at JewishLive.org/multitudes; her writing is available at joyladin.com
About the Presler Lecture
The Henry H. and Marion A. Presler Lectureship was established to honor the couple’s missionary service and to inspire the Louisville Seminary community and its wider community about issues of global mission and the role of American denominations in their historical and present witness to mission. The topics of the lectures vary, but the overall theme is Jesus Christ’s commission to the church in Matthew 28:19–20, to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.” Dr. Henry Presler studied for two years at Louisville Seminary and then transferred to Boston University School of Theology. In his later years he remembered his formative time at Louisville Seminary and left a bequest for this lectureship. View prior lectures here.